What happened at the Head for Points 2019 Summer Party?

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Thank you to everyone who came to our Summer Party on Monday at Renaissance St Pancras.

There were over 500 people in the room at one stage – twice as many as we have ever had before – and we were understandably nervous about what that would mean in terms of logistics, although the feedback we have had so far has been very positive.

With the outdoor patio it certainly didn’t feel too crowded until we made everyone come back in for the raffle draw!  Here it was, empty, at the beginning of the night (click on any image to enlarge):

Head for Points summer party Renaissance St Pancras patio

We need to thank Marriott Bonvoy for their generous support of the event. You will have met many of the Bonvoy and Renaissance staff during registration. If you were at our last Christmas party I think you will agree that the check-in process was a lot smoother this time round!

The space was beautifully decorated with a central bar adorned with floral arrangements generously funded by Bonvoy, two of which Rob and I took home at the end of the evening!

Head for Points summer party bar

We also had Glen Roughead, an impressive acoustic-looping musician, playing:

Head for Points summer party glen roughead

And here is a photo of Andrew, from Marriott Bonvoy, giving his short speech:

Head for Points summer party raffle

What we don’t have is a really good photo showing all 500+ of you in the same shot, which would give a proper feel for the scale of the event.  It was a lot of people!  This is probably the best one:

Head for Points summer party

Towards the end Marriott Bonvoy provided some muffins and macarons, which seemed to be flying like hot (or cold) cakes. I struggled to get any although I did mange to grab a few macarons when a second round was brought out …. reader Alex managed to get this photo before they were all snapped up!

Head for Points summer party macaroons

And here is Rob with a member of Head for Points commenting royalty!

Head for Points summer party Rob

And Anika, with Jon from South African Airways:

Head for Points summer party anika

We decided to have a shorter raffle for this event, as is traditional for the Summer parties, although you can expect a longer one again at Christmas.  There were four prizes to be won, generously donated by various properties in the Marriott network:

A champagne afternoon tea at Renaissance St Pancras:

A stay at The Ritz-Carlton Herzliya, Israel:

A stay at The Ritz-Carlton Budapest:

A stay at Sheraton Mallorca Arabella Golf and Spa resort:

Congratulations to all the lucky winners and we hope you enjoy your prizes.

Head for Points summer party bar

If you attended the party please check your email inbox today for a short survey. It is fewer than 10 questions long.  If you have a spare minute we would really appreciate it if you could complete it – we will read all of the comments and do our best to reflect the feedback next time.

Thank you again to everyone who came and made this event such a success, and especially to Marriott Bonvoy (Andrew, Elina, Nidhi, Lauren, Clara, Kate) and Emily and her team at the Renaissance.  See you all at Christmas!

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  1. Ken Snowdon says:

    I appreciate London is the centre of the universe (especially if you live there) but what about all your non-London readers? It’s frustrating reading about what a splendid time you’re all having when you live out of town (Durham in my case.) Any plans to share it out a bit?

    • Realistically …. no.

      UNLESS a hotel steps forward and offers to fully fund an event, in which case we’d do it. How else can we jusify 3-4 trips out of London to put it together plus the cost of overnight stays for the three of us? We would lose £1000 otherwise and, more importantly, about 30 hours of staff time.

    • Jonah says:

      Look – unless people self organise regional events won’t happen. Rob can’t be expected to be organising more than 2 events a year AND effectively lose money. How much do we pay to access this site and all the info in the first place? What you do have is the personal choice to attend the main parties if you put in the personal effort. I would have thought that there were enough Scottish members to arrange something for eaxample – and if they didn’t have to organise it maybe Rob or Rhys would pop up to attend. You just can’t expect them to do everything.

  2. When is the Christmas one?

    • We’ll tell you in early November.

      Debating whether to re-use Renaissance (but we’d have to cut capacity by 100 as it was too full during the raffle when everyone came inside) or not. Renaissance may also not want us because they can easily sell that space at a premium in December.

      • Gemma says:

        Certainly won’t want ‘us’ when people are now wise to the excessive bar pricing.

        Rob, maybe in future, pre-advise people on typical bar pricing within your chosen venue?

        • The Original David says:

          To be fair, he did say to expect bar prices of a 5* London hotel. Less than £9 for a glass of wine doesn’t seem outrageous in that context…

  3. NorthernGuy says:

    Why not hold an event outside London? HFP is a business at the end of the day. The comments shown by you suggest you want everything paid for you. Staff time, pay costs??? Come on!! How much money has HFP earned from referrals such as Curve etc etc. Put some money back towards your loyal readers please.

    • I am more ambivalent about the money. The time is actually a scarcer resource. That’s why I said we’d do it if it was fully hosted, so we don’t need to make multiple visits.

  4. Kevin C says:

    We enjoyed the event. Was great to talk to Emyr and some fellow readers.

    I personally didn’t think the wine was overpriced, taking into account the room, free cake and nibbles and the fact it was a private event.

    • how much was the wine?

      • The Original David says:

        £8.78 for a medium glass of red

      • Nick Burch says:

        It was about 8-9 quid, plus they were free-pouring (not using measures) and being very stingy with how full they filled the glasses by default. No “fill to” line on the glass either. If you pointed out that your half-full glass didn’t look very much like the 175ml on the bill, they’d add some more, but it felt both dodgy and a rip-off….

  5. Matthew says:

    Well I had a nice time. Yes drinks were pricey but it was a lovely location at a 5* hotel so I was happy to buy a few drinks. I don’t feel ripped off at all. Im not loaded either but I pay nearly £8 for a glass of wine at my local pub and it’s setting is nothing like the hotel we were in Monday night. Yes it’s annoying the other bar was cheaper but putting it in perspective, I’ve had so much value out of following this website since 2013, it really isn’t the end of the world. As Rob said, a lot of effort went into making the central bar area smart, the entertainment and the mini desserts. I enjoyed the night and hope to come to another. Thank you Rob and your colleagues for all your efforts with this.

  6. Bootlace says:

    To put it in some perspective, yes the drink prices were on the high side, but no one was forced to buy another drink, I didn’t ,having arrived at 7.30 although the 20 minute wait to get served. was not good.
    I was a little disappointed with the raffle ( I think a lot of the attendees were only there for that reason given the stampede to the exit at 8.10) Perhaps asking the readership to donate prizes in return for some exposure for their companies may be a way forward.

    The chap playing the acoustic set was too loud, it made it difficult to hold a conversation, but the people I met were great including some regular posters on here. We left at 8.40 for a free night at the Kimpton Russel Square (payback for two nights in the dreadful Met Leeds last January!)

    • We don’t do a big raffle in Summer. Impossible to get everyone inside for the 20 minutes it takes. We also can’t go around the industry scrounging prizes every 6 months.

  7. People whinging about the high prices. Get a grip, it’s a five star hotel in London not a Wetherspoons. Funny how people are happy to fly in luxury cabins they wouldn’t be able to afford without the guidance this website yet whinge about a tenner for a nice glass of red.

  8. ankomonkey says:

    A ‘do’ up North would solve the price of drinks issue. £8.75 would get you several pints of brew or half a bottle of wine and a stottie&saveloy/chip barm&battered sausage.

    • Lady London says:

      Now you’re talking!

      However let’s recall the North does have its own share of rather lovely bit expensive places ..

  9. Robs pretty stylish for a guy in his 50’s

  10. It was great to be there last night – both my partner and I enjoyed it though it was sometimes difficult to start new conversations. Nevertheless, I was glad that some people were interested in my little Twitter account about various travel-related prize draws and competitions. A few new followers after last night. And I’m happy that my pic of macar(o,oo)ns was used in the post!

  11. Freddy says:

    Did anyone get lucky 😉

    • When you say “get lucky” do you mean hook up with someone?

    • ankomonkey says:

      It could be like speed dating. To join you have to list your credentials such as TPs earned in 2018, nights stayed at various chains, money spent with Emyr, # credit cards, # places in the sun, etc….

      “Ooh, I’m not speaking to them as they stayed at a Britannia Hotel…”

      “Whoa, they’ve got Hertz President and Bangkok Airways Crystal Medallion status… Dreamy…”

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